Some Ramblings for January Prompts with A Chronic Voice

Every month I have great plans to take part in link up parties and then life seems to get in the way of writing.  One link up that I particularly love is Sheryl’s on A Chronic Voice where she gives prompts aimed specifically for people living with chronic illness to express themselves and share experiences.  January seems like the perfect month to join the party again…..so here goes!

january prompts

Dedicating

This is a great prompt for a new year isn’t it?  It could also be very cheesy!

I think that I would like to be dedicating more time and energy to working with fellow bloggers this year.  Sometimes I see others who give so much of their time to commenting on and sharing the writing of others (Sheryl at A Chronic Voice, Caz at Invisibly Me, Esme at Esme Salon, Sue at Sizzling Towards Sixty – to name but a few) that I feel a bit inadequate in my feeble attempts.

So maybe I should say that I will try dedicating my own time to working effectively and to stop procrastinating.  I had a teacher at school (Latin) who used to ask us “what is the thief of time” to which we 11 year olds would chant “pro..cra..sti..na..tion” without having a clue what it meant. Sir…I get it now!!

 

blog

Establishing

I really need to start establishing some proper self care routines that will see me through both the good days and the bad days.  For me self care revolves around reducing stress levels, which in turn will help keep the pain at bay.   At the moment “self care” – healthy eating, regular exercising (in our neighbours’ gym – so lucky!), pilates, meditation, mindfulness, rest etc etc – or maybe I should just say putting myself first in my schedule, well it seems to come way down the list of priorities and almost feels rather decadent.

 

love begins at home

Breaking

I’ve written before about chronic pain and illness being my constant companion and there are so many times that it feels like my companion is putting up barriers for me or tying me down in knots.  I want to be breaking through barriers and ties, physical and mental, that are holding me back and stopping me from feeling like the person I used to be, being the person I can be.

 

barrier

 

This might mean breaking some of the rules that I self inflict and wrap myself up in – one is the need for a clean, tidy house!  The biggest problem is that my idea of clean and tidy does not quite match with the rest of the family……this causes me more stress than anything else, and whilst I will try to be more laid back, this will be a tough one for me to break!

Breaking crockery is also something I’d like to do less of in my kitchen!!  Dislocated wrists and thumbs frequently equals dropped plates and mugs……BREAKING!!

Strengthening

Strengthening has to apply to my core!!  Whilst I was still mobile and fit, I practised yoga daily and attended classes several times a week, and had even been asked to train as a yoga teacher by my teacher!  My back has been troublesome ever since my surgery aged 21, so it has been important to keep my core muscles strong to support my weak back.  I wouldn’t boast a 6 pack, but I had a very flat stomach which pinged back after each of my 3 caesarian sections!  But….since turning 40 and my mobility and health have gone into free fall, those core muscles have gone into hiding……apparently muscle memory is a thing, if I can only coax them out.

 

stomach

Allowing

I am not very good at just allowing myself “to be” – to accept my own limitations that come with my condition, to acknowledge the bad but to celebrate the good.

I want to allow myself to take a rest without beating myself up; allow myself to say “no”; allow myself to sit and just be without feeling guilty.  Most of all I want to allow myself to accept my conditions, warts and all – accepting is not a weakness, I believe it is a strength and liberating!

 

to be

 

So there we have it – my ramblings to add to the thoughts and writings of other bloggers that can be found here on A Chronic Voice. I hope you enjoy them all.

Update….as I type I have a new cleaner in the house – a lovely lady who works for a friend who said she could fit me in…..hurray.  Now I just need to make sure I don’t fall into the trap of cleaning before she comes – just nagging the kids to make sure that the floors in their rooms can actually be seen to vacuum!!

Claire x

Currently….July 2017

I found this link up party when visiting Roseann on This Autoimmune Life – she has written a lovely post for the party being co hosted by Stephanie on Wife, Mommy, Me blog.  It is a monthly link up where you are given 5 prompts to answer – Stephanie says it is the easiest blog to write…ever, and Roseann thought it looked like fun.

So here goes with what I am CURRENTLY doing…..

SONY DSC

Documenting – My daughter finally has an appointment with a genetics consultant tomorrow having been turned down by paediatrics and rheumatology for consultations.  So in the hope that she will be recognised as having hypermobile Ehlers Danlos syndrome and have some more help at school, I am documenting her issues to date…mainly pain, dislocations, dizzy spells, lack of coordination….and on it goes along with the strong family history from yours truly and my mum before me.  Wish us luck!

Accomplishing – my initial response is very little, but then I look at my post on this blog “Magic Monday – Inspiring Blogs for You!” and can say that I am accomplishing a regular weekly feature…..thanks to all of your amazing blogs.

Enjoying – my daughter and I are currently enjoying the American teen TV series Awkward – it really has become a guilty pleasure.  The traditional teen drama is turned on its head with irony, role reversals and humour…..we laugh out loud!

Reading – I am currently reading The Devil’s Claw, a proof copy that I will review for author Lara Dearman, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and The Versions of Us: The Number One bestseller by Laura Barnett (our monthly book club read).  I read masses and belong to a local group, Netgalley and the fantastic “The Book Club on Facebook” run by Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers blog.

Spending – I seem to be spending more and more time visiting different hospital consultants.  I really have gone from being a medical professional to a professional patient!  Good job I don’t mind hospitals – can’t say the same for the waiting room times!

The school holidays have begun, which whilst it means that I have more mess in the house, less food in the cupboards and more stress, secretly I do enjoy having the kids about – even the 21 year old who is currently on a summer internship – but don’t tell them I said that!!

Claire x

#Besides my Diagnosis

Ness, The Girl with the 5 lads and Fibro blogger, has come up with a great idea to encourage those of us who have been ill for some time to fall back in love with ourselves.  She is planting a little seed to see how it grows and flourishes into something that can only be good, a place to learn to love ourselves again and all the wonderful attributes besides our diagnosis.

So by using the #Besides my Diagnosis and answering some questions about ourselves, not our illness, we can start to catch sight of “the real me” again and share some self-love and appreciation for people who need to feel they are more than their diagnosis.

Here goes….

1. #besidesmydiagnosis the three things about my appearance that I love in the mirror?

My eyes – still large & brown, my thick hair which my lovely friend Bev cuts beautifully and my height 5ft 8″

 2. #besidesmydiagnosis the things I have read most are?

Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy and Thomas the Tank Engine

 download (9)

3. #besidesmydiagnosis my favourite comfort foods are?

Banana, dark chocolate and marmalade on toastdownload (7)

 

4. #besidesmydiagnosis my favourite past times are?

download (2)Watching films – Netflix, Amazon & cinema when I can, food & eating, volunteering at 2 schools, reading & listening to Radio 4 dramas/books

 

5. #besidesmydiagnosis my biggest accomplishment since illness is?

Getting 2 boys nearly through teenage years – girl still to come!

 

6. #besidesmydiagnosis I feel my best quality is?

Caring

 

7. #besidesmydiagnosis my motto/mantra to live by?

My headmaster used to regularly ask in Latin “what is the thief of time?” to which we would all answer “procrastination”…..so images (28)these days I try to live for the day and not put off until tomorrow anything I can do today…..I may not be able to do it tomorrow!

 

8. #besidesmydiagnosis I would love to travel to?

Venice – we planned to go for our 20th anniversary and I wasn’t up to it

Africa for a safari and New England in the fall – both of which we had planned 20 years ago when I unexpectedly found I was pregnant!images (22)

 

9. #besidesmydiagnosis my guilty pleasure is?

 The Vampire Diaries on Netflixdownload (8)

10. #besidesmydiagnosis I have many dreams and ambitions such as?

To revisit New York; to open a birthday cake business (I try to do it informally for friends); to open a hospice/care home for young people2015-04-10 14.51.45

 File 06-05-2016, 22 53 26

New_York_City_view

If you have a chronic illness, join our Blog Linky;

find Ness and her instructions at http://www.thegirlwiththefivelads.co.uk/besidesmydiagnosis/4592066906

I look forward to reading yours!

#Besides My Diagnosis

 

What we are is up to us….in recognition of the Bard

It can’t have escaped your notice that it is the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, 400 years to be precise.  So in a small act of homage to the good bard prepare for a smattering of literature!

“What greater punishment is thereromeo & juliet quote

than life when you’ve lost everything

that made it worth living?”

Romeo & Juliet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some days it feels like this doesn’t it?  What is the point in getting out of bed when your once ordinary life is now disappearing?  Of course angst ridden teenagers always have the monopoly upon the unfairness of life, just remember Harry Enfield’s “It’s not fair!” Kevin, and particularly on getting out of bed. The student engineer and lovely girl certainly fall into the latter group!  If the uni exams next week have questions about sleep and bed, he will be on his way to a first with no problem.  This might be the time to share that he is actually “revising” really hard on the beach in Barcelona right now – some student life!!

Chronic conditions aren’t going anywhere.  They have a nasty knack of rearing up just in time for that long awaited trip, but rarely taking a holiday when their wearer most needs some respite.  Sometimes pain, physical or mental, does feel like a punishment – to me anyway!  I don’t believe that there are many of us who are so selfless that we have never had that really bad day when we bemoan “why me?”.  But I suppose the greater question is “well why not me?” because in Kevin’s words life is not fair.  So on the good days I must focus on the things that do still make life worth living, so that on the bad days I can catch a glimmer that all is not lost.

“Virtue? A fig! ‘Tis in ourselves that we aShakespearere thus or thus. Our bodies are our gardens, to the which our wills are gardeners. So that if we will plant nettles or sow lettuce, set hyssop and weed up thyme, supply it with one gender of herbs or distract it with many—either to have it sterile with idleness, or manured with industry—why, the power and corrigible authority of this lies in our wills.”

Othello Act 1, Scene 3

 

 

 

Was Iago right?  Am I really in charge? A Twitter quote today said something similar CglAZQwXEAUz1Xj

I quite like the idea of my will power being the gardener and that this gardener can nurture new growth through good and bad weather.  This means that I can choose how I care for myself, that the seeds that I choose to sow and cultivate will shape me.

As someone with several chronic conditions I have lost things that made life worth living.  Independence, mobility, waking up without pain, spontaneity, feeling carefree.  But we all lose precious things throughout our lives, whether suffering an illness or not, as life constantly evolves and changes.  As the gardener, I must learn to appreciate the new blooms as they appear in my garden; to take one day at a time whether thunderclouds gather or the sun shines; to tend and care for this sometimes failing garden in order to appreciate the “rich and productive” things that do still make life worth living. Coffee with friends, a child’s excitement, a partner’s touch, a faithful pet, favourite meal, or the days when the sun shines.

So as we celebrate the Bard, remember fellow spoonies that rather than viewing life as a punishment because of what we have lost, look to the future with Shakespeare for “What we are is up to us”.